Last week Ralph Lauren upset politicians across the country when it came to light that the Olympic opening ceremony uniforms donated by the brand were made in China; at the apex of the outrage was Senator Harry Reid, who declared that they should be burned. There’s been a cooling off period over the weekend with writers coming out to defend Ralph Lauren and also uncovering many other brands who are providing Olympic gear that isn’t manufactured in the country whose athletes will be wearing it.
WWD‘s Bridget Foley made no bones about being disgusted. “Most offensive, this professed outrage by members of Congress ignores the fact that Ralph Lauren the man is someone who declares his patriotism regularly, without embarrassment, and puts his money where his sentiments are — not just when the Olympics roll around,” she wrote. “How many millions did Lauren plunk down a few years ago to restore the tattered Old Glory?” She went on to point out that Ralph Lauren has done a lot to spotlight American fashion, and concluded:
To gorge like a pack of hungry rats on the notion that the USOC should reject sponsorship from an extremely generous, powerhouse American company because that company produces off-shore is counterproductive, trivializing a major economic issue into opportunistic, childish sound bites.
Ouch. And also, good point. After a solid day of silence, Ralph Lauren released the following statement Friday evening about the hoopla: